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Economics of Higher Education


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Table of Contents

Introduction.- 1. Overview of Economic Reasoning and Terminology.- 2. Student Investment in Higher Education.- 3. Private and Social Returns to Higher Education.- 4. Demand and Supply in Higher Education.- 5. The Role of Government in Higher Education.- 6. Higher Education Revenues and Expenditures.- 7. Competition and Production in Higher Education.- 8. Labor Economics and Higher Education.- 9. Current and Emerging Research on Economics of Higher Education.

Promotional Information

"Toutkoushian and Paulsen attempted a daunting task: to write a book on the economics of higher education for non-economists that is also useful to economists. A book that could be used for reference and as a textbook for higher education classes in economics, finance, and policy. They accomplish this tough balancing act with stunning success in a large volume that will serve as the go-to place for anyone interested in the history and current thinking on the economics of higher education." (Prof. Emeritus William E. Becker, Jr., Economics, Indiana University) "The authors have produced a very readable book that higher education administrators, faculty, and graduate students, as well as scholars interested in the economics of higher education should want to read. They have succeeded in explaining key economic concepts in a simple fashion and integrated into the book summaries of the best research on higher education and their views on potential policy changes." (Prof. Ronald G. Ehrenberg, Industrial and Labor Relations and Economics, Cornell Higher Education Research Institute) "In this volume, Toutkoushian and Paulsen provide not only foundational information on the economics and finances of colleges and universities, but also creative insights on new ways economic and financial ideas might be applied productively in this arena. The authors' presentation is straightforward and on point, covering core concerns like pricing, demand, and cost analysis as well as more specific issues like decentralized budgeting, tuition discounting, and MOOCs. The volume will surely become a valued resource for leaders, policymakers, and researchers interested in higher education policies and operations." (Prof. James C. Hearn, Institute of Higher Education, University of Georgia) "I have taught a graduate level course on the Economics and Finance of Higher Education for more than twenty years. During this time period I have systematically looked for a resource book that would make economic thinking accessible to graduate students without a background in economics or finance. I have found isolated sources on rates of return, higher education markets; supply and demand as it relates to student enrollment and the selection of student majors. I have found individual sources on sources on higher education finance, and on budgeting systems. However, I have never found a single comprehensive source that covers the full range of these topics and more. This volume will become the primary textbook for similar courses in the United States and quite likely many other countries around the globe. It is an excellent resource that I enthusiastically recommend." (Prof. Don Hossler, School of Education, Indiana University) "This book, which is considerably more than a textbook on the economics of higher education, goes a long way in helping individuals outside the field understand the pricing and stratification of the product we call "higher education." Numerous examples from studies enliven and enrich the discussion. Data released in the fall of 2015 showing the relationship between earnings and college education across the spectrum of four-year institutions make the book a particularly relevant read for anyone interested in the field." (Prof. Paula E. Stephan, National Bureau of Economic Research, Georgia State University)

About the Author

Robert K. Toutkoushian is a professor in the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Georgia. He has a PhD in economics from Indiana University (Bloomington), where he specialized in econometrics and finance. Prior to his faculty appointment at Georgia, he worked as a research associate at the University of Minnesota, as executive director of policy analysis for the University System of New Hampshire, and as a faculty member in the educational leadership program at Indiana University. In addition to his faculty appointment, Dr. Toutkoushian serves as the editor of the journal Research in Higher Education, and has served as editor of New Directions for Institutional Research and associate editor of the economics and finance section of Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research. He has published more than fifty studies in peer-reviewed journals and edited books on a wide range of topics on the economics of higher education, including faculty compensation, higher education costs, student demand for higher education, performance indicators, decentralized budgeting, institutional productivity, and state funding for higher education. Michael B. Paulsen is a professor in the Higher Education and Student Affairs program at The University of Iowa. He has a PhD in higher education and economics from The University of Iowa and an MA in economics from the University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee), where he specialized in labor economics, public sector economics, and economics of education. Prior to his faculty appointment at The University of Iowa, he was a professor of higher education at the Universities of Illinois, Alabama, and New Orleans; and a professor of economics at St. Ambrose University. In addition to his faculty appointment, Dr. Paulsen serves as the Series Editor of the scholarly book series Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research; a consulting editor for Research in Higher Education and the ASHE Higher Education Reports. He has over sixty publications-books, journal articles, book chapters-including his book The Finance of Higher Education. His publications in economics of higher education have focused on college choice, tuition inflation, effects of prices/subsidies on student persistence, higher education costs, growth in workforce productivity, demand for higher education, and effects of financial conditions on curricular change.


"A very useful sourcebook for educational researchers with interest in economics and finance in higher education. The book is systematic and comprehensive in its treatment of the key concepts, principles, and theories and in its coverage of the topics and policy issues. ... book can be a good choice for graduate courses in economics and finance in higher education. It can also be an excellent handbook for faculty and graduate students in the fields of higher education and public policy." (Shouping Hu, The Journal of Higher Education, January, 2017)

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